EDF and BEDA donate Chrome Books to Blackwell schools

by Charles Gerian

EDF Renewables and the Blackwell Economic Development Authority started the week by purchasing 225 Chromebook laptops and docking stations for Blackwell Public Schools, according to a press release sent by that organization.

The $75,000 gift will help the school district achieve its goal of having access to computers available in the classroom for each of its 1200 students, according to Matt McCluskey, senior development director at EDF. “EDF Renewables has long been supportive of public education in the communities in which we locate our projects. This Chromebook initiative will jumpstart the school district’s effort to enhance their students' educational experience. We are proud to partner with BEDA to make this valuable contribution,” said McCluskey

“We are working hard to put Chromebooks in the hands of all of our students. Our long-term goal is to have availability to all our students, which is a $350,000 endeavor. Private support has been instrumental in getting this started, and EDFR and BEDA’s help gives us a real boost,” said Rick Riggs, superintendent of Blackwell Public Schools.

State legislators applauded the gift as well. State Representative John Pfieffer said, “Our schools are the hearts of our communities, and it is amazing to see this kind of support. I’m glad to see Blackwell build on the teacher pay raise and classroom money from the state level last year.”

State Senator Roland Pederson added, “Anytime a school receives a gift of this kind, it is appreciated. A gift like this going directly to the classroom. The morale of students and teachers should be energized.”

The Blackwell Economic Development Authority and the Blackwell Industrial Authority are public trusts in the city of Blackwell.

“BEDA and BIA work with business and industry to create jobs and investment in Blackwell and the surrounding area. We are proud that BIA and BEDA are totally self-sufficient with no funding required from the city of Blackwell,” said Darrel Grossardt, chairman of the organizations. “We recognized that renewable energy was a major potential opportunity for our area nine years ago, and since then, we’ve been able to work with three different wind companies to locate projects and operational facilities in and around Blackwell.”

“The Rock Falls Project created about 150 construction jobs and a great deal of economic activity in our area. EDFR and other companies now have permanent operations and

maintenance employees located here. Draw a 30-mile circle with Blackwell at the center, and today, there are 1,500 megawatts of wind generation by seven different companies, where 10 years ago, there was none,” said John Robertson, executive director of the BIA.

The BIA and BEDA encourage job creation as well as the location of businesses and investment in manufacturing, retail, housing, healthcare, and public infrastructure in and around Blackwell, according to the release.